By Don Heckman
– Mar. 21. (Wed.) Zana Messia and the Balkan Soul Orchestra. Yugoslavian singer-songwriter Messia celebrates the release of her new album, Balkan Soul, featuring the arching melodies and gypsy rhythms of her songs. Guest performers will reportedly be in attendance as well. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– Mar. 21. (Wed.) Zakir Hussain’s “Masters of Percussion.” Tabla master Hussain, whose resume reaches from classical Indian music to jazz and pop fusion, displays his virtuosic skills in a setting that embraces high energy percussion, meditative ragas and Indian dance. Walt Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000.
– Mar. 22. (Thurs.) Joe LaBarbera Quintet. The veteran drummer steps into a leadership role with an all-star band: saxophonist Bob Sheppard, trumpter Clay Jenkins, pianist Bill Cunliffe and bassist Tom Warrington. That’s for the 8 p.m. set. At 10 p.m. pianist Josh Nelson’s trio takes over, with Dave Robaire, bass, Dan Schnelle, drums. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
Mar. 22. (Thurs.) The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Westside Connections 2. Special guest: Food critic Jonathan Gold. Why a food critic at an LACO concert? Because the subject of the evening is food references in music. And L.A. Weekly food critic Gold will discuss them as part of a program of music dedicated to food-related compositions by J.S. Bach, Bernstein, William Bolcom, Timothy Andres and Dohnanyi. The Broad Stage. (310) 434-3200.
– Mar. 22 – 25. (Thurs. – Sunday) Rachelle Ferrell. The soulful, far-ranging voice of Ferrell has been one of the wonders of contemporary jazz and pop for more than two decades, still reaching well above high C. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– Mar. 23 & 24. (Fri. & Sat.) SFJAZZ Collective. The Music of Stevie Wonder. The all-star members of the Collective take on the songs of Stevie Wonder, and add their original works – inspired by Wonder. Samueli Theatre, Segerstrom Center for the Arts. (714) 556-2787.
– Mar. 24. (Sat.) Noa (Achinoam Nini). Adept in a dozen languages, imaginatively expressive in music of every genre, Israeli singer Noa (as she is professionally known) will display the full range of her creative versatility, while emphasizing music from the Israeli songbook. She’ll be accompanied by her long-time partner, guitarist/arranger/producer, Gil Dor. Click HERE to read an iRoM Q & A with Noa. A UCLA Live concert at Royce Hall. (310) 825-2102.
– Mar. 24. (Sat.) Savion Glover. Always searching for new creative dance expressions, Glover – backed by his new “Bare Soundz” band – explores the fascinating connections between flamenco and tap dancing. The Valley Performing Arts Center. (818( 677-3000.
– Mar. 24. (Sat.) Tom Peterson Quartet. Saxophonist Peterson, a versatile player who is on everyone’s first-call list, steps into the spotlight with the able support of bassist Pat Senatore, pianist Josh Nelson and drummer Kendall Kay. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
– Mar. 24. (Sat.) Jackie Ryan. A standout in a crowded field of singers that seems to be growing larger by the day, Ryan is a uniquely appealing jazz vocal artist. Always responsive to the inner heartbeat of the words and the music, she is a songwriter’s delight. Ryan performs with the Tamir Hendelman Trio. Pierre’s Fine Piano Salon. (310) 216-5861.
– Mar. 24. (Sat.) Mumiy Troll. Russia’s best-known, most popular rock band makes a rare Southland appearance, celebrating the upcoming release of their first English language album, Vladivostok, recorded in Los Angeles. The Viper Room. (310) 358-1881.
– Mar. 25. (Sun.) Pat Martino and Eldar. It’s a cross generational performance, with the superb, 67 year old veteran guitarist Martino exchanging musical ideas with former prodigy, now 25 year old pianist, Eldar. A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast. Musicians Institute. (310) 271-9039.
– Mar. 23 – 25. (Fri. – Sun.) The James Cotton Superharp Band featuring Elvin Bishop. Cotton, the Grammy-winning master of the blues harmonica, leads a band featuring the similarly gifted blues singer/guitarist Bishop. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.
– Mar. 22 – 25. (Thurs. – Sun.) Kevin Eubanks. He may have had his greatest visibility leading the Tonight Show band from 1995 – 2010, but guitarist Eubanks’ world class abilities reach far beyond the television screen. Blues Alley. (202) 337-4141.
New York City
– Mar. 20 – 24 (Tues. – Sat.) Pharoah Sanders Quartet. Tenor saxophonist Sanders, one of the prime musical offspring of John Coltrane, has taken the style and shaped it into a uniquely personal creative expression. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.
– Mar. 23. (Fri.) “Bird Amongst the Blossom: A Tribute to the Blossom Dearie Songbook.” Singer Jaye Maynard, fascinated by both the romance and the whimsy in Dearie’s repertoire, has shaped the songs into a fascinating musical tribute. Cornelia St. Café. (212) 989-9319.
– Mar. 21 & 22. (Wed. & Thurs.) The Mike Stern Band. He moves freely and imaginatively across the boundaries of jazz, blues, fusion and beyond. And guitarist Stern is at his best when he’s surrounded by fine players. As he is here, with French violinist Didier Lockwood, bassist Tom Kennedy and drummer Dave Weckl. The Milan Blue Note.
– Mar. 21. (Wed.) Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet. Not yet 30, trumpeter Akinmusire has already been chosen by a large number of critics as the cream of his generation, and potentially the next major jazz trumpeter. He performs with Walter Smith III, saxophones, Sam Harris, piano, Harish Raghavan, bass, Justin Brown, drums. A-Trane. 030/313 25 50.
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Ambrose Akinmusire photo by Tony Gieske.